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Summer Protocols

I kind of freaked out last week. It was the first week of summer break for the kids and I was not prepared for what I would emotionally be facing. As the kids get older and play more independently, I found myself feeling a little sad. I spent time before this week mentally planning how I wanted to show up this summer, putting in my calendar the days we'd go to the library and the park, the days for horseback riding lessons and the museum. I thought about how much fun we were going to have but I didn't realize that this is a summer of change and transitions.

They are my childcare kiddos. I've been watching them for 7 years. I didn't know that I would fall in love with them and consider myself a part of their family. And within a few short years they will not need the same relationship with me any more. And I found myself a little sad and inviting in some old overeating habits that I hadn't used in a long time.

We had a fun week together last week, but I felt unsettled inside. On Friday when I was working with my coach we decided to do some feelings work because I thought my problem was that I just needed to make some decisions about how I spend the summer between working with the kids and managing my coaching business. But what I realized as we began to do some work together was that I had this thought in the back of my mind that I was going to have to make a decision to let them go eventually and that I would never get to see them again (I know my brain likes to offer the most drama possible with a few short sentences) I had lots of thoughts about how I wasn't showing up for my coaching business this summer because of the longer days spent with the kids and my desire to hang on because the times are a changing.

As I was processing my feelings I had a memory of when I was 6 years old and our family was moving from South Carolina back to California and I had to leave my favorite cat Sam behind. My dad said that Sam needed to live in South Carolina, that he was a tom cat who needed to remain in his territory as he had become quite the predator of the wild animals that lived behind our house in the woods and that the concrete jungle of the city was no place for our tom cat to live. I felt like I was leaving behind my most precious friend, I got so much love from this wild cat. I cried and cried because my life was changing and I had to let Sam go.

As I worked on processing this feeling of sadness I realized that the story that change is hard and painful and that loss is involved was bringing up some real sadness in me.

Doing feelings work can seem strange. We are not taught to develop the skill of allowing the feelings in our body to just be there and process them. We are taught at a young age to stop crying, chin up, get over it and move on. We may even have learned to cope with unwanted feelings by using food in an attempt to quiet down our feelings, which never really work because food was designed by God for other purposes, yes we get enjoyment from food but not real comfort. But buffering doesn't allow us to move on from the painful feeling, we just learn how to mask it, usually in unhealthy ways.

The kids will some day not need me to watch them any more. I know that in my heart they will always be a part of the love that I hold for them even when they no longer need me on a weekly basis. (And it's natural for them to not need us in the same ways from when they are young, even if they are childcare kiddos who you love like they are your grandchildren). It is a privilege to serve their family. It's a wonder that I still get snuggles on the couch and that they enjoy the adventures we have together. They are growing and I'm amazed by how God has created them to be so uniquely sweet, strong, kind and loving.

After I did some work on allowing myself to acknowledge that things are changing, and that they always are changing, I felt calmer and more capable to make some decisions. I am determined to make a summer protocol that allows me to be more present with God, myself and others. I deleted some books from my kindle that suck me in and take away too much of my attention. I created a protocol for how I take the summer to discover how to teach my clients how to let go of diet mentality and embrace a more gentle approach to weight loss. I have planned a protocol that allows for a lot more music and time sitting on the porch enjoying the summer sun and the singing birds who entertain and delight me with their songs and how they play. I purchased yard games and a splash pad so that we can spend more of our time outside and plan more hikes with the kids and playdates with the neighbor kiddos. I am also so excited that we welcome our first granddaughter this summer and I am delighted that I have the honor and privilege to spend time getting to know and love this new precious child.

I'm learning how to play chess. Something I told myself I'd never want to learn because games like that used to cause so much stress. I'm dusting off the keyboard and pulling out my old piano books to teach the kids and myself how to play the piano.

I'm challenging myself to incorporate more gentle exercise into my daily routine and enjoy days when I lounge by the fire pit and just sit and listen and soak in all that God has to offer me.

I'm in an accountability group and sharing my summer protocol plans in order to help me gently lose some unwanted weight this summer, all the while speaking more kindly to myself about the condition that my body is currently in.

Things are always changing. So deciding to allow change to take place from a more slowed down, compassionate space will allow me to enjoy the time I have left with the kids (I know I had some drama that it was going to end last week, instead I do know that we plan to continue for some time to come. I also plan time spent helping my coaching clients. It may seem slower than I first anticipated in my head, but it feels so much calmer and happier deciding to make some changes.

So here's what I'm recommending to my coaching clients this summer.

Slow down.

Create a protocol that allows for you to discover the unforced rhythms of grace. (Matthew 11 28-30 The Message) You can learn to have freedom for the diet culture and bring on some true healing and have amazing weightloss results. Having protocols that fit into different seasons and times in our lives give us more room to breathe and make decisions that serve us. They also allow us the space to feel our feelings.

I can teach you how to create a protocol that is gentle, kind and allows for weightloss without dieting.

Contact me to learn how working with a coach this summer can help you enjoy the summer without fear of change.

And It's my wish that you take the time to really learn how to enjoy each day as it comes, no matter what changes are taking place.

Girl, You've Got This!

Coach Shel

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